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Surescripts lowers e-prescribing prices

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. & ST. PAUL, Minn. — Electronic prescription network Surescripts said it has reduced the pricing of its e-prescribing services used by pharmacists, physicians and payers nationwide.

The company reported this week that as of Jan. 1, it lowered the price that pharmacies, pharmacy vendors and pharmacy benefit managers pay for e-prescribing, noting that the move came after six years of no price hikes.

"Our decision to lower prices fulfills a public promise made when legacy SureScripts and RxHub were founded," Surescripts president and chief executive officer Harry Totonis said in a statement. "Three things have enabled us to keep this promise: Surescripts’ ongoing commitment to its own operational efficiency, the economies of scale resulting from the merger, and Surescripts’ success in working with health care organizations across the country to create and meet the growing demand for e-prescribing."

Totonis added that with the price cut, Surescripts aims to step up its efforts to connect with more pharmacies, physicians, payers and patients. "As we add more participants to the network, this will continue to drive down the cost of e-prescribing, as our efficiency, scale and economics improve," he explained. "As this occurs, we will again pass those savings along to the industry."

Surescripts said its e-prescribing services enable doctors to electronically send prescriptions from their offices to any of 52,000 retail pharmacies and six of the largest mail-order pharmacies. The network also gives physicians electronic access to their patients’ prescription benefit and prescription history, which the company said helps improve safety and allows doctors to prescribe medications with the lowest out-of-pocket cost to the patient.

"The widespread adoption of e-prescribing is clearly the right thing for all of us to support," stated Stanton McComb, president of McKesson Pharmacy Systems (MPS). "In these times, we are especially sensitive to the economic pressures that our customers are under. We recognize that most everyone wants to support e-prescribing, but there is a real cost to doing so for pharmacies. MPS felt that it was important to support and extend Surescripts’ price reductions as quickly as possible to our software customers to support this advancement in pharmacy care and also support our customers economically."

Surescripts said it connects prescribers in all 50 states through their choice of e-prescribing software to the nation’s leading payers, chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies.

"Surescripts’ overall efforts — which go well beyond operating a network and certifying software vendors — have helped create unprecedented demand for e-prescribing," Bruce Roberts, executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, said in a statement. "Today, nearly 25% of all U.S. office-based physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are now e-prescribing. That accounts for more than 150,000 prescribers nationwide — more than double the number from one year ago. For community pharmacies, this growth not only lowers the cost of e-prescribing, but also begins to realize the gains in efficiency that we all envisioned from the beginning."

Also this week, Surescripts announced it has formed a committee to help guide the company’s development of a prescription history service for health information exchanges.

The HIE Advisory Committee will help Surescripts to engage, listen and work out the operational details of a prescription history service for HIEs and other appropriate community entities. Surescripts said it aims to facilitate a connection to multiple data sources in a way that supports meaningful use and shared objectives for patient safety, privacy and security.

"By leveraging the success and knowledge gained from several important pilots, Surescripts stands poised to work together with HIEs on a new, standardized prescription history service," commented Totonis. "To aid in this process, we are pleased to announce five professionals — known in their communities and nationally for their leadership — who have agreed to serve on an HIE advisory committee to Surescripts."

Committee members include Laura Adams, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute; Michael Matthews, CEO of MedVirginia; Dr. Marc Overhage, CEO of Indiana Health Information Exchange; Robert Steffel, CEO of HealthBridge; and Dick Thompson, executive director and CEO of Quality Health Network.

"This initiative is very timely as we lay the foundations for meaningful use of electronic health records," stated MedVirginia’s Matthews.


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